Maria Callas

Biography

Born: December 2, 1923   Died: September 16, 1977  
The fame and legacy of Maria Callas are nearly unsurpassed in the modern history of opera. Her fame has transcended the usual boundaries of classical music, and she has been the inspiration for several movies, an opera, and a successful Broadway musical. Her extensive catalogue of recordings remains among the most coveted and controversial for both her fans and detractors.

Though American by birth, Callas (born Maria Anne Sofia Cecilia
Read more Kalogeropoulos) was born of Greek parents, and at age 13 her mother took her back to Greece because of financial difficulties caused by the Great Depression. She studied voice at the Royal Academy of Music in Athens with Spanish coloratura soprano Elvira de Hildago and made rapid progress; she soon sang Santuzza in a student production of Cavalleria rusticana. Her professional debut came at age 16 in a minor role in Suppe's Bocaccio.

While still in Athens during World War II, Callas sang her first Tosca in 1942. In 1945, she returned to the United States and sang several auditions, but nothing came of her visit. Her first appearance in 1947 at Verona as La Gioconda brought her to the attention of Tullio Serafin; Serafin became her musical advisor for many years, acting as her coach and conductor of many of her performances.

The entire world of opera was stunned when, in 1949 -- while singing Brünnhilde in Die Walküre at Venice -- she agreed to sing Elvira in Bellini's I Puritani, alternating performances during the same week. That same year she traveled to Buenos Aires to sing Turandot and Norma. In 1950, she sang Aida at the Teatro alla Scala, but she did not become a regular member there until 1952. The summer of 1950 took her Mexico City where, in one month, she sang Norma, Aida, Tosca and Il trovatore. During these early years, Callas would sing nearly any role offered including Isolde, Leonore in La forza del destino, Constanza in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Elena in I vespri siciliani.

As she matured, Callas began to concentrate on a smaller core repertory, including Cherubini's Medea, Bellini's Norma, Puccini's Tosca, Bellini's La Sonnambula, and Donizetti's Anna Bolena. Most of her other roles were heard only in one series of performances. After 1959, she rarely appeared on the opera stage, but she did sing concerts in America and Europe. Her last opera performances were in June 1965, at Paris as Norma. She came out of retirement in 1973 to tour the world with Giuseppe di Stefano in a series of recitals. Although financially rewarding, the tour did nothing to enhance her reputation. In 1971, she gave a series of masterclasses at the Juilliard School of Music in New York which were quite successful. In 1977, she died of a sudden heart attack in her Paris apartment.

Maria Callas was one of the most controversial singers of the twentieth century. She had a wide range from high E to the F below the staff, and an innate feel for the style of bel canto roles, but she was most notable for bringing a commitment and intensity to her dramatic portrayals that was nearly unprecedented at the time. By 1957, her voice developed a wobble which grew worse in the following years. Always a perfectionist, she was very difficult to deal with from a management point of view: she was fired from the Metropolitan Opera in 1958 and she was estranged from Teatro alla Scala for several years. Her vocal decline coincided with the dissolution of her first marriage to Giovanni Meneghini and her affair with Aristotle Onassis. Read less
Browse 126-150 of 162 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    Simply Callas - Ponchielli, Verdi, Wagner, Etc
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 698772 Release Date: 07/24/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Piero Poldi,  Paolo Silveri,  Gianni Poggi  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Antonino Votto,  Gabriele Santini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Coro Cetra
    CD: $39.99
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  • 127.
    Great Soprano Arias
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82613 Release Date: 05/22/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Mirella Freni,  Anna Moffo,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  René Duclos Chorus,  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Paris National Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $5.99
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  • 128.
    Nicola Rossi-Lemeni - Nabucco, La Forza, Ernani, etc
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10332 Release Date: 05/14/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Jacques Ibert,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Nicola Rossi-Lemeni,  Maria Callas,  Joan Hammond
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Tomaso Benintende-Neglia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 129.
    Verdi Heroines / Maria Callas, Nicola Rescigno, Et Al
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 80018 Release Date: 03/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Society of the Conservatory Concerts Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 130.
    The Essential Collection - Great Sopranos, Contraltos, Et Al
    Label: West End Records   Catalog: 892 Release Date: 02/20/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Antonio Lotti,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Adelina Patti,  Landon Ronald,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Josef Krips,  George Byng,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Orchestra  ... 
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  • 131.
    Best Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 70853 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gioachino Rossini,  Alexander Borodin,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  Henriette Puig-Roget,  Victoria de los Angeles,  Heather Harper  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consortium Musicum,  South German Madrigal Choir Stuttgart,  Polish Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 132.
    Holnd Fstvl - A Dutch Miracle - Fifty Years - 1947-1997
    Label: Globe   Catalog: 6900 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Rudolf Escher,  Richard Strauss,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Renato Capecchi,  Teresa Berganza,  Giulietta Simionato,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  George Szell,  Jean Fournet,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hague Residentie Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Danzi Woodwind Quintet  ... 
    CD: $44.49
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  • 133.
    Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia / Giulini, Callas, Alva
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6479 Release Date: 02/04/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Pier Luigi Latinucci,  Melchiorre Luise,  Maria Callas,  Tito Gobbi  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    CD: $29.99
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  • 134.
    Bellini: Norma / Serafin, Callas, Stignani
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 86834 Release Date: 06/07/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Paolo Caroli,  Rina Cavallari,  Ebe Stignani  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    CD: $21.99
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  • 135.
    Bellini: Norma / Votto, Callas, Simionato, Del Monaco, Et Al
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6460 Release Date: 05/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Nicola Zaccaria,  Giuseppe Zampieri,  Gabriella Carturan,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 136.
    Donizetti: Lucia Di Lammermoor / Serafin, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86197 Release Date: 01/11/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Tito Gobbi,  Raffaele Arié,  Giuseppe Di Stefano  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
    CD: $14.99
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  • 137.
    Spontini: La Vestale / Votto, Callas, Corelli
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6425 Release Date: 04/03/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gasparo Spontini
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Maria Callas,  Nicola Rossi-Lemeni,  Enzo Sordello  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
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  • 138.
    Classical Heartbreakers
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85345 Release Date: 01/13/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Lucio Quarantotto,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Cohen,  Laszlo Varga,  André Previn,  Garrick Ohlsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Norman Del Mar,  David Abel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 139.
    Callas Edition - Verdi Arias Vol 2 / Rescigno
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 66461 Release Date: 05/23/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 140.
    Cherubini: Medea / Bernstein, Callas, Penno, Nache
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67909 Release Date: 11/05/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luigi Cherubini
    Performer:  Maria Luisa Nache,  Maria Callas,  Giuseppe Modesti,  Angela Vercelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 141.
    Giordano: Andrea Chénier / Votto, Callas, Del Monaco, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67913 Release Date: 11/05/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano
    Performer:  Silvana Zanolli,  Aldo Protti,  Maria Amadini,  Lucia Danieli  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 142.
    50 Years Of Mozart Singing On Record
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63750 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Mariano Stabile,  Luise Helletsgruber,  Tito Gobbi,  Charles Santley  ... 
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  • 143.
    The Opera Album / Alagna, Callas, Pavarotti, Gheorghiu, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67830 Release Date: 08/13/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  José Carreras,  Jessye Norman,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianluigi Gelmetti,  Riccardo Muti,  Alain Lombard,  Klaus Tennstedt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toscana Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Rhine Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $23.99
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  • 144.
    Maria Callas - La Callas...toujours, Paris 1958
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 92503 Release Date: 07/03/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Tito Gobbi
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  • 145.
    Maria Callas & The Great Sopranos
    Label: Avid   Catalog: 707 Release Date: 03/27/2001  
    Composer:  Gustave Charpentier,  Umberto Giordano,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Nellie Melba,  Claudia Muzio,  Elisabeth Rethberg,  Victoria de los Angeles  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter Rogers,  Lorenzo Molajoli,  Rosario Bourdon,  Walter Susskind  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin
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  • 146.
    Callas Collection - Donizetti: Poliuto / Corelli, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1228 Release Date: 01/11/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Franco Corelli,  Virgilio Carbonari,  Ettore Bastianini  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 147.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 2156990 Release Date: 01/02/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luigi Cherubini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    CD: $12.99
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  • 148.
    Maria Callas - The 1958 Los Angeles Concert
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1182 Release Date: 12/28/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ambroise Thomas,  Giacomo Puccini,  Arrigo Boito  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
    CD: $15.99
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  • 149.
    Callas Edition - Gluck: Ifigenia In Tauride / Callas, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65451 Release Date: 06/02/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck
    Performer:  Dino Dondi,  Francesco Albanese,  Anselmo Colzani,  Fiorenza Cossotto  ... 
    Conductor:  Nino Sanzogno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 150.
    Puccini: La Boheme (Highlights) / Callas, Di Stefano
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 66670 Release Date: 06/02/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Manuel Spatafora,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Rolando Panerai,  Anna Moffo  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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